tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 26, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT
people in the first district? rep. lee zeldin: i am 35 years old. in congress, there are 31 members under the age of there are 20 in the house republican conference. 11 in the democratic house conference. i am in favor of term limits personally. there has been such a huge changeover. two thirds of the republican conference was not even here five years ago. the average age of the house republican conference is about excuse younger than our colleagues on the opposite side of the aisle, and there is just a lot of changeover that has happened over the course of the last few years, all across america. so as far as my district, about a decade older on average, but we have people who are 18 years old, and they want to know how they can afford to go to college, and then you have
seniors, trying to figure out how to pay for their prescription drugs or put oil in their tank, so there is certainly quite the range as far as interest around the district. host: you are also the only jewish republican member of the house. is that significant, in your opinion, and how? rep. lee zeldin: there are issues that i care very deeply about. you speak up, and you talk about who are america's friends, and who our enemies are, what our foreign policy should be as relates to defeating isis. isis happens to be about 18 miles from the syrian border with israel. how is our approach with syria and iraq and afghanistan, and, of course, the nuclear talks the rising tide of anti-semitism around the world, including right here in the united states,
and this is starting to become more prevalent on college campuses, and around the world where some cemeteries are being converted to all muslim cemeteries without even any indication as to what they will do with jewish remains. maybe a person listening that day to help spread the word, i embrace that. host: how did your experience in ..the military, particularly your experience in iraq, influence, or does it, your views on foreign policy? rep. lee zeldin: four years in active duty, and then in the reserves, i have been able to encounter all sorts of issues affecting active-duty service members, their family, mental health needs, providing occupational and vocational
needs, especially when you're coming off of active duty, ensuring you are getting the health care that you need and deserve from the va, making sure the military has the resources they need to win, not just with equipment but also with the rules, the rules of engagement making sure their hands are not tied, that the leaders, the commanders of these troops on the ground are given the flexibility they need to accomplish their mission. even going back to before i was even in rotc, just studying history as relates to war, reading philosophy and just how human nature works, and what the best approach is to deal with conflicts. you have to make assumptions but it is very good not to make bad ones. making a critical decision as far as national security goes. i would say over the course of my time, there have been a lot of lessons that have helped in for my desire to be part of the decision-making process here. host: in terms of reading, if you're not reading briefing
books, you talked about reading history. what do you like to read? rep. lee zeldin: anything, really. i am fascinated when i can read -- i can read aristotle, talking about how important it is to know the difference between right from wrong, so when it is time to leave, you do what your gut tells you is right, and just that development of leadership. you know, reading about henry the fifth, trying to give the saint crispin's day speech from a force that went from 10,000 to 6000, up against tens of thousands of french, and trying to motivate those men at that moment, despite being not just outmanned, but just to inspire and the significance of the
relationships, not just militarily but also diplomatically. the british and the french in that example. i do not limit the story with any one particular piece of time. i enjoy reading all of it, because usually, you can find something in every one of these stories. host: you beat tim bishop in the elections. how did you do it? rep. lee zeldin: we had a primary first and ended up winning by 24 points. that was a june primary, so we had a few months. june 2014. and we had a few months to prepare for november. for me, it is a whole lot of door-to-door, phone calls, rolling up your sleeves, going to fairs and festivals, meeting as many people as possible.
many of the people i represented in the state senate, there was a good base of support among people who i knew going into the race, but it was just a lot of hard work and a good team, using social media and e-mails, just trying to have a good message, talking to people about issues that they care about so you can make that connection, where they realize that you share common values, because you are running to be the representative. it is important to know where you stand. host: how effective was the committee in getting you effective? rep. lee zeldin: they helped. a spent a couple million dollars on the race in multiple ways and i think they brought, not just with the tv ads, but also on the media front, making it introduction with someone.
there are many different ways that they were able to assist, which was great, but ultimately, it is important for a candidate to do as much of their campaign on their own from the grassroots up, so the help you get from washington with these races, and a matter what side of the aisle you're on, it is helpful. it is great to have that air support show up, and you just cannot rely on it, because you will lose touch with your district. host: you have talked about what your district is like. give us an example or a short, brief story on somebody who may have come to office for help to make typify the type of constituent you serve. rep. lee zeldin: i was thinking of the veterans story with the appeal, that we were help to satisfy some and trying to get an appointment with a federal agency to do something with their social security or their medicare, some of the with an immigration concern, they have a family member who is overseas, going to the local embassy.
they are trying to get home, and for whatever reason, they are having trouble to get back home. it is just every day. we have had several hundred people come to our office. i had 17,000 in my four years in the state senate, cases that came in and were resolved. the state legislature in new york is a little different than the legislature around the country, so we had probably about 15 staffers at the state legislature, so we were able to deal with a lot of these cases. this is very similar, except it is the federal issues. you try to help move something up a priority list when they are having a lot of difficulty cutting through the red tape. host: do those cases see more satisfying than, say, a vote that goes in your favor? rep. lee zeldin: there are some success stories, where you read everything they were going through and the significance of
being able to help someone. for them, that issue is more important than any vote that we have down here, so that is very rewarding, and my time on active duty in the military. i spent some time in an office and you can help somebody through a divorce, or they are trying to get out of a bad contract, or they bought a car that they should not have. some of those challenges. you might the overseas, and a service member back home, like their girlfriend just went out with their power of attorney that they probably should not have side, their girlfriend went out and bought a nice, fancy sports car, and they see their account go down. it is nice to help, because they are very desperate sometimes. host: you are still serving in the reserves? rep. lee zeldin: yes. i met a 90-year-old world war ii veteran who is the last living medal of honor recipient from the battle of the bulge. it was so cool. it was a nice reminder. you take off this suit. you put on an army suit.
you're surrounded i people who believe in a cause greater than themselves, and it helps to keep you grounded. host: congressman lee zeldin first district of new york thank you. >> our conversations with freshman congressman continues now with representative mark takai. mr. takai also serves and the hawaii army national guard. he discusses what it's like to be a member of congress and the unique qualities of the hawaiian delegation. host: congressman mark takai representing the first district how many districts are there in hawaii? rep. mark takai: two. host: what do you think of washington? rep. mark takai: i love it.
when i am in d.c., i would probably go to see our congressional delegation about every quarter. never in my wildest dreams did i imagine i would be sitting here as a member of congress. host: and you visited them because you were a member of the legislature? rep. mark takai: a member of the legislature, some visits because i was a member of the national guard. there were some opportunities to come to washington, d.c., and it was always a treat. host: it is a long way. now that you're a member of the house, how often do you get back? rep. mark takai: my family, one of the things we decided on was where my family was going to stay. we have two young kids, matthew 13 and kaila 12, and i am in d.c., and my family is at home so i tried to go home as much as possible, not only for my family, because it is important, but also as a new member of
congress, i think it is important to go back home. host: i think one of the items you brought from your office is a picture of your family. to our viewers. your family is back in hawaii. rep. mark takai: very appropriate. that was the day i decided to run for congress, august 8 2013. host: what prompted that decision? rep. mark takai: there were some members of congress he talked to me, but, truthfully, the reason i am here, unfortunately, is because senator inouye passed away. there was a lot of movement in our delegation, and because of that, colleen hanabusa, before me, ran, and there was a spot open, so in 2013, on august 8, we made that decision. host: how much convincing did it take your family? rep. mark takai: welcome of the biggest decision was where we
were going to live. once they knew they would be a look to stay home with their friends, and my wife sami and her family and my family everything was all good at that point. host: the congressional recess and district work periods, when you go back on, it is not just to go back to the sandy beaches, but to work. are you able to separate out your life and be able to tend to those? rep. mark takai: a member of the legislature 20 years prior there is almost no separation, especially in hawaii. with your family, we have dinner, say, at the closest shopping mall to our house, near pearl harbor, and i am always working, so i am trying my best to spend family time with my family, but my kids grew up through dad being in the
legislature, and now they are growing up with me being in congress. i go to their soccer games or their swimming meets with our kids. always on. host: you spoke about coming here as a member of the military. when did you begin serving? rep. mark takai: july 19, 1999. host: did you serve in iraq? rep. mark takai: i served in kuwait as part of operation iraqi freedom. i am proud to be in the army national guard, right now serving as a lieutenant colonel. host: do you still have demands on your time for the national guard? rep. mark takai: absolutely. the reason i know the date is that is our anniversary date and every year, you have to have the many hours of her, and mine is coming up, so i am working hard to make sure it is a good year. host: you are on the armed services committee. what would you like to see accomplished? rep. mark takai: we spent the
first apple you're months working on the bill otherwise known as the national defense authorization act, and it is a hard -- it is a tough measure, because it is all inclusive, but at the same time, you work hard on it the first of four months. you get it done, and then we can move on to other things. we were proud to have introduced 29 amendments, of which 28 passed, so we felt like we were pretty successful. host: do you think your time in the military. the ear of other members of the armed services committee because of that? rep. mark takai: i hope so. i sit next to another veteran. in terms of the freshman class there are a number of veterans on the democratic and republican side. to make sure that our
perspective, members of the military, and their perspectives are heard. host: from an organizational standpoint, how this congress compared to the military? rep. mark takai: that is a good question. no one has ever asked me that. i think in some ways, it compares pretty well, because everything in the military is about leadership and chain of command. and congress is sort of like that most of the time, so in that way, we have a chairman running our committees. we have a speaker. running the national guard in hawaii, and everybody follows his direction. so i think in some ways, it is like that, but another, there is much more flexibility and freedom being in the legislative branch, because i would not necessarily tell the general but in some cases, you can tell
leadership. i am a democrat, part democrat. host: could you see yourself in a leadership position in a committee or other areas? rep. mark takai: fortunately this year, i serve as a ranking member on a workforce and small business committee, so we were very fortunate. i am definitely privileged to have the opportunity to be a lead democrat on a subcommittee right now. in the future, i think it is important for hawaii. our family, when we made the decision, i told them, along with my close friends and supporters that the commitment to run for congress in this particular seat, especially for a small delegation like we have in hawaii, is a long-term commitment, and if given the
privilege of serving or many years, i think it is important for us to build seniority in the house. host: a lot of the committee meetings are covered on c-span and the c-span networks. do you ever get frustrated with a limited amount of time you get to ask a witness was two typically something like five minutes? because that is just not enough time to get your questions answered. rep. mark takai: being in the legislature, where there was no limit, i appreciate the limit. the armed services committee with nearly 70 minutes, if everybody had an unlimited amount of time, we would be there for days. i think over time, congress has developed this time limit, a policy of five minutes, and in some cases in terms of the floor one minute, i think if you cannot say something within the one minute on the floor, if you cannot say something in five minutes in committee, then you have got to rework your message. host:s: going back to your campaign and that august 2013
decision to run, how well-funded were you at the time? how much of it was a concern and how do you typically continue your fundraising? rep. mark takai: well, we started from nothing. we were the first time running a congressional race, a federal race, so we started from scratch. i learned early on that in order to win a congressional race, you have to put together a great team, and i credit tammy duckworth with really helping me through that. we are college classmates, and i credit myself for her getting to run for congress in 2008, and we helped her again in 2012. i was here for her confirmation hearing when she was assistant secretary for the v.a. i was very close to her. she told me, mark, don't worry. i will let you have my whole team, and you will run with my team, and we will work hard to raise money. i did not have to worry about the region of 18. tammy helped me.
every member of her team, media, print, even fundraising was her team, so we did that, and we just focused on fundraising, and like i said, we started from nothing. we were trying to raise about $1 million for the primary. we came in a little bit short, so that delay our tv buys, but we had one solid month of tv and that thought as over-the-top. incredible, we started 20 point down. this is a lot of work. host: does it feel like you have to continue to fund raise? focusing on constituent work as much as you would like to? rep. mark takai: we are spending a considerable amount of time fundraising. and it is expensive to run a
congressional campaign. our entire campaign last year cost $1.8 million, so we ran a general election campaign that cost over $1 million. most of that goes to tv, and if you take a look at the market in hawaii, it is a lot cheaper than anywhere else, so we are buying a point at something like $100 and some of the other markets are spending up to $1000 per point, and we want to keep on raising money, because it is important for us. host: what one aspect of hawaii do you think your fellow members typically do not get? rep. mark takai: that is a good question. there was a bipartisan delegation, and i was the only freshman.
i had the honor of representing not only the freshman class but also these services, and i think that grew just that visit and the visit to the pacific command, to get the pacific command brief, surprisingly, many senior members of our delegation were unaware of the important of hawaii, on being the strategic hub and headquarters for our military across asia, the pacific, and the indian ocean, so i think that in and of itself is important to talk about, because i constantly am talking to colleagues and inviting them to hawaii and letting them know how important, strategically important, hawaii is for the united states. host: reading about your background, you were one of the first in hawaii to buy a nissan leaf. what prompted that decision?
rep. mark takai: well, that goes back to -- truthfully, that was back to me being deployed in the middle east in 2009. hawaii is a very beautiful place, but we have our challenges. we are what i call the most isolated populated land mass in the entire world, and because of that, the need to be more sustainable is critical. the cost of living is high in hawaii, i believe mainly because of the fact that we are not as sustainable as we need to be, so i served in the middle east. i looked around and kind of wondered why we were fighting a war half a world away from hawaii, and i realized it was partially because of oil, black gold, so when i got home, i told my wife, we have got to put these panels on our roof, and she said, what? and i said we had to make electricity from the sun, and months after that, she was telling her friends, you know
what, our electric bill is zero. with mark, we put these things on our roof, and now we are not paying electricity. around that time, early adopters could log on to the internet and order your car, and like you said, i was one of the first. that was five years ago, so 2010. i am on my third leaf. every two years, i get a new one, so i just picked up my third one in april. host: other hawaiians have picked up this trend in terms of alternative energy? rep. mark takai: if we could, we would harness the sun, and not everyone is as fortunate as my family, because we live in a single-family home, and we own our home, but there are renters and people who live in townhomes who do not have the
opportunities i have, so even in the legislature, we are pushing for these measures that would do more for the community as a whole and move us towards sustainability as quickly as possible. host: most mainlanders come to hawaii, and what took you from hawaii to the mainland first? what was your first trip? rep. mark takai: you know, that was probably when i was five years old to go to disneyland in california. a lot of people travel to california from hawaii, and many people still go to disneyland. that was probably my first trip. i started swimming when my family was living in guam. host: competitively. rep. mark takai: competitively. host: did your dad work in the military? rep. mark takai: we were stationed from fifth-grade to seventh grade. we lived in guam.
host: you mentioned senator inouye. tell us about the people. rep. mark takai: far left is senator inouye, then the congresswoman from hawaii, and on the far right, another senator from hawaii. host: a state senator? no, a u.s. senator. rep. mark takai: i tell this story almost every day about what it is like to be here representing hawaii. i have many stories about senator inouye and about patsy but i talk about being on the shoulders of people like them, and you know it because we all work here. the halls of congress, especially capitol hill, it is a
very different place at night, you know when all of the tourists, all of the work groups are gone, and we are walking to and from the capital. i heard stories of senator inouye talking about these long nights. in fact, he had his office as senate president pro tem in the capital, and it is just a surreal experience to be walking through the halls and just hearing your footsteps in realizing that these people who came before me also represented the state of hawaii. in fact, senator inouye was the first elected member of congress, and he came right after hawaii became a state. host: are your traditions that people would not know about, a piece of memorabilia, or something that is passed down from member to member regardless of their party? rep. mark takai: nothing has been passed down. we have gone into the cage upstairs.
that has some memorabilia from other members, and i pulled out some of the portraits and the artwork from previous members, but i think in terms of hawaii we are very proud of the fact that people love us for our macadamia nuts and chocolate. and then when we talk about hawaii and being on the hill there is almost an expectation that you either come with a lei, wearing a lei, or you come with chocolate covered macadamia nuts. so i bring them out once in a while. host: you talked about what you want to do on the armed services committee. more broadly, how long do you want to serve, and what are your broader goals in congress? rep. mark takai: i got elected at 47, and i was elected in the state legislature and served for
20 years, and as i mentioned earlier, the commitment that our family has made, if given the opportunity and privilege, to put in another 20 years, so that would make me 67. that is not too, so, yes, if given the opportunity to stay here, i think it is important for hawaii for seniority, and for this place, for the most part it works on seniority. host: you talked about serving on the newspaper and being a political science major. what about your kids, what are they interested in, and what would you like to the them do? rep. mark takai: i would like to see them not run for politics. i tell young people to get a life, raise your family, and then maybe a few years down the road come back and possibly run for office, so i hope they do not have aspirations to follow
me right out of college, because it was tough. host: but then you do not have a chance to meet george takei. rep. mark takai: we met through tammy duckworth. it was duckworth, honda, and another supporting tokai, and mark takano -- and jerry endorsed me in the primary, so the headline read, takei and takano endorse takai. all three of us get confused. we have the pleasure now of calling ourselves friends, and
in fact, i am going to see george takei, and he is debuting in a new broadway show, focusing on the japanese experience, and i am looking forward to that show. host: well, we hope we get it right. congressman mark takai. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2015] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] our third congressional profile features congressman mike bost. congressman bost is a former marine, a volunteer firefighter, and owns a beauty shop with his wife. he discusses his time in the illinois legislature and his reasons for serving. host: so we welcome congressman mike bos of the 12th district in illinois, and we can tell by your pin that there is an
military part. why would you want to run for congress? rep. mike bost: i have been in the legislature, have 10 grandchildren, and was a situation where i was not happy with the things that were happening out here, everything from obamacare to overregulation on business. i was not only in the beauty salon business, but i was in the trucking business. i came home from the marine corps and ran it for 10 years. the frustration, talking to the family with a lot of decision-making, and i could have just thrown my hands of an and i am done with them a but, in that, i said, no, i'm going to try to it is to make things better for the kids. host: when did you want to run for the house?
rep. mike bost: 2014. host: your race, you defeated the incumbent democrat bill enyart, in what was reportedly one one of the most expensive races. rep. mike bost: it is. the paducah, kentucky, market is less expensive, but you go to st. louis, it is like $600. host: so your district reaches all of the way up that far? rep. mike bost: my district goes up to alton, almost st. louis, but not as far as grafton. it is 1.33 counties.
host: how did you do it, from the standpoint of raising the money? who helped fund you? and what about beating him? rep. mike bost: we had jerry costello there for many years. jerry was a conservative democrat. he represented the area well. the concern that had come up was that this congress or bill enyart was not keeping in touch with the people. they had become used to jerry costello's style, which was constantly in contact. they knew him. all over the district, and in a short period of time, i realized that was not occurring. i actually talked to a democrat state legislator who said, i do not know him, and he was in the district, and that is not what these jobs are about. they are about servant's positions, and i was able to look at that and then springboard on some of the other
issues out there. of course, we also have a videotape that was from my experience on the floor as a floor leader that we did not know whether they would use it or not, but we had to try to figure out how to build our name recognition. host: this is the one that got you the nickname of -- rep. mike bost: "meltdown mike." it is the second greatest rant according to cnn, so, basically, what had happened is right after -- here in congress, they had passed obamacare, and the statement had been made, we have got to pass it, so we find out -- host: 2010. rep. mike bost: yes, i am on the floor, and what we have been working on is the illinois pension problems, and we had been working on it for a year
and a half, and i am one of the leaders, and i come on in on the morning that we are supposed to pass it, and i say, i need some information on the bill, because there are some hangs i need to talk about, and he said, they changed it, and i said, they changed what part of it, and he said, all of it, and i said, who changed it, and he said the democratic speaker, so things went on. they actually moved the bill in a partisan manner out of committee, and they were bringing it to the floor. my job as a floor leader is too full. one is to protect the members, and two is to argue our point. but this was more than that. it was a case of were 30 years plus of having the same speaker bypassing rules, and basically what happened is i had had enough, and i threw the bill in the air, and if you listen to
it, there were specific arguments. it was odd, but there were specific arguments that i was talking about. host: and this went viral, and in the end, you think it helped your campaign. the media and other members may be criticizing you. rep. mike bost: right. you wish that it was not a case where you had to do that, but sometimes, what we have discovered with this is the majority of the people who contacted me after it happened and in the campaign -- as a matter of fact, they say you do not want to send someone like this to washington. it will make the federal problems worse, and the answer we got on the street was, no, we want some it is like this in washington who will stand up for us and who will say, no, things aren't right. host: what have you found so far? is it different? rep. mike bost: it is quite a bit different, and one is the controlling rules as far as your
debates, everything like that, after being a floor leader in illinois, where we did not have to address the chair. the chair was kind of the moderator, so it is different in that respect. just the level of work and the amount of subjects you need to be a breast of, and the sheer size of the job. host: we talked earlier about jerry costello keeping in touch with the district. how do you do that? rep. mike bost: we do that by social media, and when i am back in the district, when people say, well, you are home. well, my population base is quite away from my home. for example, during easter, we were there one week before and one week after, and all of those 16 days we were home, i slept in my bed four, so the day you do that is to make sure you're out and in constant contact,
everything from town hall meetings, but also we have listening sessions, where we go out and meet with different leaders and with the general public, and they know we are out there, and we are getting comments on that all of the time, that we are out there everywhere. host: you do not have duties anymore about being a volunteer firefighter, but you brought a helmet. tell us a little bit about that. rep. mike bost: that was a gift from one of the fire departments, because i often carry the language, but i was a firefighter with murphysboro and you get to do all of the things that your mother does not want you to do, running into buildings that other people are running out of, getting dirty, getting wet, and people like you because of it. it really was one of the most exciting job i ever had in my life. even with the marine corps, this
was right up there. host: you were a volunteer. rep. mike bost: i was actually a full-time firefighter. and paid for call. 1988 until actually even up until the time i was in the state legislature, until 2008. host: you talk about the busy schedule on capitol hill. what committees are you on? rep. mike bost: small business veterans affair, and ag, which is appropriate for the district. host: does that sound like a lot? rep. mike bost: it is. they told me you probably do not want three committees, but they put me on, and we are able to cover it, but it is a busy time. host: how do you keep it all straight? rep. mike bost: we have staff, and studying the issues, and one of the important things to do is these things that are obviously
from other congresses before and you have to play catch-up in your mind, and we are getting to the point now where we are pretty smooth. host: you have several witnesses, and you only get a few minutes. rep. mike bost: that is probably one of the rough parts of this job. by the time you get down to the freshmen members, most of the questions have been asked. it has drawn out over a long period of time, but with the subcommittees, i have been able to get into what i need to know during the actual committee, and quite often, we have to come back with questions so we can get our answers. host: what is on your to do list? rep. mike bost: a couple of things. we have got scott air force base, and there is a geospatial system that is needed, we are we can get it there, and one of the most important things really is,
and it has to deal with this with those resources, over burdensome regulation from the epa, and other agencies that have just caused -- why do we strangle our businesses in this nation, and when we are trying to compete with a worldwide market with so many agencies that have these rules, and that doesn't mean we do not want to make sure everything is safe. when you have been in small business, which i have, you find out sometimes the government does everything to make it difficult. host: give us an example. you were in the trucking business and the beauty salon business. rep. mike bost: in the trucking business, if you know there is a driver shortage, a driver shortage is not occurring
because there are not people who want to do the jobs. it is just that people doing the jobs cannot sell enough hours because of a mishandling because of the rules and the logbook rules. and that was a very dangerous time, but you have got to be able to, for instance, if you are coming up on your amount of hours that you are supposed to have in a week, and you are an hour or a half-hour from your destination, you have to stop the truck and waited 36 hours, or they have to send a driver? and not only that, that driver then, if his week falls with a weird break in the middle, he or she can not solve 40 hours. that is when you have got people here in d.c. writing rules who have never even sat in a truck. they do not understand. not necessarily from the standpoint of the federal
government, but in the beauty salon business, we have this and we became so overregulated. host: in terms of federal and state? rep. mike bost: both. host: how prohibitive are the regulations? rep. mike bost: the level of taxation on the trucking industry was very for him it is. and the cost of doing business. host: you are talking about the highway bill, transportation bill, at least through july. what are some of the biggest infrastructure issues, and how to we go about resolving this? rep. mike bost: as we move forward, and i do not know if you can put the boats together for a gas tax, and the reality is the people in the coffee shop and beauty shops, they are a little bothered by that, and so we went to watch and see if we
can find a stream for long-term purposes, and i will be working with colleagues to try to figure out exactly what that is, but truly our job -- there are many things that we dabble in. an interstate commerce, that is a job. and the highways, that is our job. and we have to make sure that the bridges are kept open, and we have not been doing a real good job. host: what would you say are the condition of yours? rep. mike bost: they are rough. i think they patchwork things, because of funding problems. they do not go to the depth that they need to to restore them to the point that they were. host: you are one of the several new members of congress with military experience. how long did you serve in the marines? rep. mike bost: i served three years in the marines. i went to san diego for boot camp.
then to yuma, arizona, where i did my duty. host: are there any similarities between the military and the house of representatives? rep. mike bost: no, not really and let me explain why. in the marine corps, our job was to -- we had immediate obedience to order, and quite often, that would save your life, by the way. here, we are independents, representing our own district. there may be some that want to roll over and give you orders, because we do have leadership, but leadership has to represent -- recognize that each and every one of us represents our district. host: holding your own? rep. mike bost: will that come up at some time? it may. i still have to work with my district, and that may upset some people.
there are a lot of coal mines, a lot of unions in the districts a union firefighter, but i am a republican, and so it is about jobs, and it is about keeping people working and straightening out economy out and all of the other issues. there are the borders, all of those things, but when it comes to my district, i will be for my district. host: were you born and raised in your district? rep. mike bost: yes, i was there my whole life. host: did you join the core after high school? >> yes. i was driving for the family trucking business and i got hit on a motorcycle by a drunk driver. it was in october. i got hit hard and and that up with a slightly twisted ankle.
i was at home, not in the truck, when the iran hostage situation happened. at 18 years old, you think you can change everything. i waited up and the next thing i knew i woke up in marine corps boot camp and i was serving. host: so it was the iran hostage situation that motivated you? rep. mike bost: maybe that is why i run into buildings other people run out of. host: looking back to that incident and where we are with iran now, what are your feelings? rep. mike bost: i am not a big fan of what the president is trying to do as far as his negotiation with iran. they have a history. the history that we have had to deal with. we want to be very careful. i want to make sure that whatever we do, we make sure that they don't have a nuclear weapon.
i'm going to be standing very strong to make sure that my voice is heard through congress that we are not going to go down that path. host: getting back to campaigning a bit. you're in your first term. tell us about the process of winning reelection to your seat in 2016. has that started? rep. mike bost: it has. 20 years in the illinois general assembly, i ran every two years. you immediately go right back into running in the state of illinois because it is an early primary. we are going to be out and doing that shortly. it is part of the process. somebody said they felt we should change the constitution. i don't think so at all. i think the best way that we can keep our congress in check is that every two years they have
to go back to the voters. it is the voters that make that decision. host: do you feel you fit the bill of citizen legislature? rep. mike bost: i'd like to say yes but, in a moment, if they don't want me, i'll go right back. i also think that we need people with experience and set is also a reason why we -- why i don't agree with term limits. what happens is that bureaucrats and up running the government, not those that are elected. i want to be sure that it's the elected people. host: you have a picture of your grandkids in your office. rep. mike bost: we had to tape one of the newest ones on the top. birdie was born a week ago sunday. they range in age from 14 to
newborn and they all live within six miles of the house. i have three children of my own. i think they are done now. i don't know. my wife made the statement because there was no more room in the car, she said i think we've had enough. i told her she doesn't make the call. host: have your kids and grandkids been back east to washington? rep. mike bost: they have. i had one of the greatest lessons. i have a picture of it hanging in my office. my grandson and his pain on for the first time. -- my grandson pinned the pin on me for the first time. host: would you like to see one of your grandkids in office? rep. mike bost: i don't know.
my son is 34 now. he knows the strain it puts on life. i'd be very proud of them whatever they do. i don't know that i would definitely push them that way. host: illinois congressman mike bost. thanks for being with us. >> our final profile features bonnie watson coleman. she is the first african-american female in congress. she talks about her experiences as a member of congress and efforts to make progress on issues like gun control. we will show you as much of this as we can before the house comes in for a brief pro forma session at 3:00 eastern. host: congresswoman bonnie watson coleman of new jersey. what do you think of your time in washington so far?
rep. bonnie watson coleman: it is exhilarating and frustrating all at the same time. it has been a great learning curve for me. it is so wonderful to be sort of in the midst of all of this activity and all of these important policy initiatives and discussions that are taking place that impact people throughout the country. host: you come from a background of having served in the new jersey legislature. was it easy to transition with staff and issues from that setting to capitol hill? rep. bonnie watson coleman: from the extent that i knew certain kinds of staff. that was a pretty easy transition. the experience down here is very different than the one in state government. in state government, you had a predictable committee schedule. you had a predictable employee schedule. everyone was on the floor when you were voting and debating issues. it is very different down here. you never were called out of a
committee meeting into voting and then go back to your committee meeting or resume your duties like you do down here. the rhythm is very different. host: has it been hard to get used to? rep. bonnie watson coleman: actually it is kind of exciting. you really don't know what is going to come at next. your senses are heightened. you are ready to move quickly and you know that you have to be prepared in a shorter. of time -- in a shorter period of time. it's really quite exciting and interesting. host: we are taping this conversation and a studio in the capital and you came over here i one of the tunnels before we started. you said your experience working here has been like one constant tunnel. explain that. rep. bonnie watson coleman: a lot of times, we move from our office building to the capital and we go through the tunnels.
everything around you is about the work you are doing down here. i mentioned that i sometimes feel like i am in a tunnel even when i'm not in there because my whole existence is like being here as a legislator, dealing on the floor with our issues, becoming part of a caucus, raising special order hour issues. everything that surrounds me is about being here. host: has a bit hard for you to make the transition personally from being able to go home in the evening as opposed to staying in washington? rep. bonnie watson coleman: my husband is principally retired and is a part-time pastor of a church. he is with me a lot when i come home at the end of the evening and come to our little tiny apartment.
i do get a chance to have that consistency in my life and it is very nice. host: you also brought from your office a picture that hangs there. who is in the picture? rep. bonnie watson coleman: it's my father. i am one of four and the only girl. i was a daddy's girl. i father served in the legislature for a number of years. i took his seat. host: what does it say to you when you see his picture each day? rep. bonnie watson coleman: it says i was raised to be a public servant and that my father and mother always taught all of us to give as much as required. it is, do what you have to do, do it to the best of your ability, and be honest in all things. host: i read a profile of you that said you were an activist legislator or wanted to be.
what does that mean? rep. bonnie watson coleman: i believe very strongly in issues. the civil rights movement, a woman's right to choose, voting rights, affordable health care i recognize the importance of immigration and immigrants to the economy here. i am very supportive of and recognize that in order for everyone to prosper, we have to concentrate on middle-class values and working-class values. i'm very supportive of unions. i have always been outspoken. i have addressed issues that didn't necessarily have a strong voice. i have taken them on. i guess that with things that i have done with regards to second chance legislation, giving individuals alternatives to incarceration and recognizing the negative impact on our economy of massing cursor ration -- mass incarceration.
i guess that makes me an activist. host: you just introduced your first bill into congress, it deals with online gun sales. how do you move that forward? rep. bonnie watson coleman: that's not my first piece of legislation. the bill basically makes it difficult or impossible to purchase ammunition anonymously. if you purchase ammunition online, you will have to go and secure it through a licensed dealer and you will have to show identification. in addition, if someone is purchasing more than 1000 rounds of ammunition within a short period of time, the dealer has the responsibility to report it.
it gives us a chance to look into these issues before they become another tragedy. i worked on gun legislation. i think it is very important that we reduce the access to guns and ammunition, not necessarily or sportsmanlike activities or for hunters. i come from a family of hunters so i know, don't mess with their rifles. we have a society now that is so very dangerous because ammunition and guns get into the hands of the wrong people. coming here and looking at areas that i can move into and extend what i did in new jersey, this is a natural evolution of who i have been and who i want to be here. host: how are you and your staff moving this forward? rep. bonnie watson coleman: we
-- >> we will leave this conversation here. you can watch this and other freshman profiles of you go to our website, c-span.org. the house is meeting and what is expected to be a very brief pro forma session. members are on a district work time for the memorial day holiday. live coverage here on c-span. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.] the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's room washington d.c., may 26, 2015.
i hereby appoint the honorable andy harris to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, john a. boehner, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the prayer will be offered by our chaplain, father conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. eternal god, we give you thanks for giving us another day. we thank you once again that we can come before you and ask guidance for the men and women of this assembly. send your spirit of peace honesty and fairness during this week of constituent visits. bless the people of this great nation with wisdom, knowledge and understanding that they might responsibly participate in our american democracy. breeze keep all who work for the people's house in good health. we thank you for your generosity and the tremendous job so many did this past
weekend so that millions of americans could enjoy a wonderful capitol concert celebrating memorial day. bless us this day and every day. may all that is done be for your honor and glory. amen. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to section 5-a of house resolution 273, the journal of the last day's proceedings is approved. the gentleman from michigan will lead the house in the pledge of allegiance. >> i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk
received the following message from the secretary of the senate on may 22, 2015, at 5:15 p.m. that the senate passed senate 1463, that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 2496. signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication. the clerk: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives sir, pursuant to the permission granted in clause 2-h of rule 2 of the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on may 26, 2015, at 9:54 a.m., that the senate passed without amendment h.r. 2353. signed sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 4 of rule 1 the following enrolled bill was signed by speaker pro tempore
messer on friday, may 22, 2015. the clerk: h.r. 2496, a bill to extend the authorization for the replacement of the existing department of veterans affairs medical center in denver, colorado, to make certain improvements in the veterans access choice and accountability act of 2014, and for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house an enrolled bill. the clerk: h.r. 1690, an act to designate the united states courthouse located at 700 grant street in pittsburgh, pennsylvania, as the joseph f.
rising rates of incarceration cannot be explained wholly or even immediately by changes in crime rate. while incarceration rates rose steadily for four tickets crime rates have fluctuated. as noted before, crime rates rose from the late 1960's to the early 1980's, but then they fell and then rose again here they fell sharply until the early hears of this century and have since remained relatively flat. yet, from 1973 two 2009 incarceration rates, nevertheless, increased steadily year after year. in short, our panel concluded that rising incarceration rates, again, mostly reflect policies. i want to wrap up my speaking to the third question posed to the
committee, one of the consequences of high rates of incarceration, and i will turn to panel members to flesh this out. needless to say, these high rates of incarceration have not been equally distributed across the population. as a footprint of the penal system expanded, correctional supervision became an everyday presence in poor minority communities. incarceration rates for african americans have been about 4.5 times to 6.5 times higher than whites during a time of rising incarceration rates to incarceration rates for hispanics have been two to three times higher than for non-hispanic whites. the committee found that incarceration stressed by -- incarceration had to do with education. there are very high levels of penal confinement among minority-aged men with little schooling. in 2010, men aged 20 to 39 incarceration rates for black high school dropouts is estimated to be 35%. for white men of the same age
who have been to college, the incarceration is .3 of 1%. those, the incarceration rate for black men with very little schooling is more than 100 times higher than for white men who have been to college. we also calculate the chances of the percentage of people who have ever been to prison at some point in their lives. on the next slide, we can see that for a of men born in the late 1940's about one in seven men who dropped out of high school served time in prison by the mid-1930's. the following flight shows those born in the late 1970's and growing up in an era of hien kurtz ration rates forever can american men who dropped out of high school, it is estimated that two-thirds served time by their mid-30's. for young black men with little schooling, prison time has become a regular life events. so as a result, and
unsurprisingly prisons have become more overcrowded. and we talk about that in our report, as well. what can we say about specific policies though? first, in terms of effect on crime and then on people, is suggest there is also impact, impact on the incarcerated community. the committee found that although high rates of incarceration have been driven by long sentences, particularly in the 1990's, there is little evidence of a strong deterrent effect. long sentences have little incapacitated fx. long sentences have the effect of incarcerating older people who tend to be much less criminally active, with long sentences, penal severity has come to focus on those who no longer present much of a threat to public safety. with little evidence supporting a very popular belief that crime is reduced by high rates of incarceration, there is also much evidence indicating that long sentences, in particular, do little to reduce crime either through deterrence or
through incapacitation. in addition to the effect of incarceration on crime, the committee also consider the effects of the social and economic life of amylase and communities of the incarcerated. research shows men and women released from prison a very low earnings and high rates of unemployment. experimental evidence points to the extreme reluctance of employers to hire people with criminal records. the negative effects of a criminal record have been found to be about twice as large as -- for african americans as whites. it also means numbers of children with incarcerated parents. in 2007, 1.7 million children in america had a parent incarcerated in prison. perhaps on prince -- perhaps unsurprisingly that the research bears this out, incarceration is associated with weaker family bonds, lower levels of child well-being. incarceration is also associated with economic in security for
the family and housing instability. at the level of communities for admissions and releases come mostly from disadvantaged neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, car thread does concentrated incarceration has had a dire impact on these communities, which tend to suffer from high rates of violence unemployment, racial segregation, and social problems. to be sure, it is difficult to isolate the community-level of fact of incarceration and isolation. still, we know clearly from the data and ethnographic research that incarceration itself has a negative impact on the country's already most vulnerable communities. the high incarceration rate is not characteristic of living in a very specific neighborhood that is already battling joblessness, had schools, etc. finally, we considered the wider consequences of high rates of incarceration for everybody else, society at large, and we
noted it has an impact on things such as access to opportunity -- if you have a criminal record -- incarceration and the criminal record that follows it can limit access to jobs, occupational licenses, student loans, veteran benefits some other governmental benefits. in many states, for the right to vote. previous collateral consequences of incarceration has created a type of second-class citizenship focused disproportionately on african americans and hispanics from the poor segments of society to high rates of preservation and also shifted. -- have also shifted fiscal priorities. $53 billion on corrections and 2012, up from $6.7 billion in 1985. and more data to that affected in our report. in short, after nelly 40 years of growth, the penal system has such a large footprint in american society, with little kiwi or -- with little clear evidence of the growth in
incarceration produced reductions in crime to yet indicates significant social and economic costs. the final question facing us, as i wrap up -- what are the implications of all of this for public policy? after assessing the evidence on rising incarceration, our consensus now can to the overarching recommendation -- policy makers at the state and federal level should take the necessary steps to significantly reduce the rates of incarceration in the united states. in our view, the policies leading to high rates of incarceration are not serving the country well, and we're well past the point where the neighbors of evil and prison can be justified for the social benefit. -- the numbers of people in prison can be justified for the social benefit to the criminal justice system has made less use of incarceration can better achieve aims in a harsher, more punitive system. their commonsense practical steps that we can move in this direction. arriving at this policy recommendation, our committee
was guided both by our assessment of empirical evidence and by reference to long-standing principles governing the roles of prisons and democratic societies. in our report, we trace the scholarly lineage and of four principles for providing useful framework for our deliberations paired with suggested that these principles should guide the national conversation we hope to spur, as well. the principle of proportionality requires that criminals should be sentenced in proportion to severity of their offense. the principle of parsimony requires the confinement should not be greater than necessary to achieve a legitimate social purpose of the committee observed that many of the statues enacted over the past four decades failed to observe these long-standing jurisprudential principles. the principle of citizenship, which would require humane treatment of those in prison and has been embraced by associations of correction professionals, international standards, and federal court decisions have been strained by
the current correction policies and practices. finally, the committee reaffirmed the principle of social justice, which would require that prisons should be reviewed is important institutions that promote, not undermine, the well-being of members of society. this would require greater attention, oversight, and transparency regarding the role of prisons and society. these guiding principles are from an parable findings and strengthened our overarching recommendations that the u.s. it reversed course and reduce the level of incorporation -- of incarceration. we have more specific recommendations from -- for policymakers and three domain spirit sentencing policy, prison policy, and social policy. i believe those up there, those recommendations. again, we have issued briefs and have the reports themselves. we can look it is in more
detail. i have time to turn this over to my colleagues. thank you. and now we will turn it over to glenn lowry who will tell us a little more detail on this. glenn: heather has given a very good overview of the work we did in this panel and the significant findings of the report. i was charged with underscoring some of what we did in this work having to do with racial differences and implications for communities. let me do that briefly in the interest of allowing time for some back-and-forth here. you have the issued briefs and they report in hand. i will not try to comprehensively summarize the statistics. but heather has already pointed out the fact that the disparity and incidence of incarceration i race is quite large. 6.5 times the rate per 100,000 is the population for men. for poorly educated african-american men born in the late 1970's and coming to
maturity or in a time of rising incarceration rates, two-thirds will spend a year or more in a state or federal penitentiary before reaching the age of 35. these are very large numbers. very large numbers. they raise questions -- some we pursue in the report and some that are not readily amenable to scientific analysis, even though they are very important questions politically and morally for us as a society to take on board. this racial disparity takes place against a backdrop of racial inequality, discrimination segregation in society as a whole, and to some degree flex the consequences of that history. it has huge impacts, as has been mentioned, on the community from which the persons who are incarcerated come, and to which
they will, inevitably, return. roughly one million african-american children and incarcerated parent. in some communities, the rates of incarceration in terms of the proportion of the young male population are quarter, 30% in some well-defined urban enclaves . the circulating populations of inmates in and out of the institution causes the nature of social life in the institution and community to be in some kind of symbiotic relationship to one another pair the kinds of behavior, ways of carrying oneself that are necessary -- another. the kinds of behavior, the ways of carrying oneself that are necessary in the ones in the broader community. some criminologists have argued -- this is controversial and we
call attention to the controversy in our report -- the variability of the communities to employ informal means of social control that are crime-reducing to discipline young people, for example, and maintain order through informal regulations, are undermined by the high level of imprisonment characteristic of those populations -- men coming in and out of prison in large numbers makes it harder to sustain an environment in which it is possible to socialize young people into a more law-abiding pattern of behavior. the implications last beyond the time the racial inequality -- the inequality implications, i am talking about, last beyond the time of a person being confined. again, heather made reference to the studies that that -- ss the impact on wages and employment after release confinement.
the data is good. audit studies have been carried on by social scientist who sent confederates to employers to apply for jobs with either being black, white, latino, having a criminal record or not, and the findings are consistent to the effect that a criminal record suppresses and put, particularly so for criminal -- people of color that come with criminal records. it has also been mentioned the extent to which collateral sanctions of one kind or another -- impediments upon full citizenship participation that follow a person after they have a deleterious effect, and negative effect on the people subject to these voting prohibitions or licensure, or residency in public housing, or availability for educational pell grants and other such work be limited to people -- other such support being limited to people.
the negative consequences that i've been calling attention to for children, families, communities, and individual persons, will also be significantly disparate by race. so, the system of social control that relies so heavily upon incarceration has the effect, indirectly, of exacerbating and extending the extent of racial inequality more broadly. i think in closing here i should address the question of the extent to which incarceration differences by race are a reflection of terminal participation rate, -- criminal participation race by rate -- rates by race. it does account for some of the differences, but not close to county all of them. one example would be in the area of anti-drug enforcement, where
the data from surveys are that african-americans are on the whole no more likely to be the users of for the sellers of drugs, yet african-americans are substantially more likely documented in a report to be arrested and confined for participation in illegal drug trafficking. these can be explained to some degree by reference to discriminatory behavior in policing and various kinds of subtle bias, and to some degree by differences in the social ecology the case of drug markets, urban and open-air markets being easier to detect people violating the law in markets that might be more private and less susceptible to public observation and so on. i would like to close by observing that whereas we think about just as and we think about law enforcement is having to do with individual offenders doing something wrong and being held to account for what they have done, once we construct a system
as robust and as profligate, i can say, as the one we have come to construct, the consequences can spill well beyond dealing with individual offenses in holding people accountable for what they have done. you can be punishing entire communities through the net effect of what you do, notwithstanding the fact that many of the people in those communities will have done nothing wrong. thank you. heather: thank you, glenn lowery. i will turn it over to larry mead from new york university. he will share information on one particular chapter chapter four, that we direct your attention to because it is a historical roots chapter that we found to be really important for understanding the breaking the pattern of incarceration to see what had come before. larry: thank you very much. i was honored to serve in this
committee and i wanted to describe some of the thinking behind chapter four and draw some brief conclusions from that. chapter four is about the political forces behind the prison boom, the reason why we have the sudden break in previous rates of incarceration, when we see a sudden increase in incarceration. our analysis shows that the crime issue emerged as an important national question in the 1960's, intertwined with earlier issues that were related, particularly civil rights. i do not mean that there were earlier discussions of crime in american history. it became an issue again in a somewhat new way in the 1960's. whereas civil rights had been a liberal issue that was oriented to assuring equal rights for blacks crime became a much more conservative issue. the reason for this is one crime began to increase in the late-19 60's, a number of factors
conspired toward a reliance on prison as a main response. one of them was, at the time, there was not much alternative to prison, at least not in the minds of those involved in criminal justice. there was a period when rehabilitation programs were in disrepute. it was the they were not effective. our view is somewhat more positive today. it looked like the human response you could make, really, was to lock people up. -- it looked like the only response you could make, really, was to lock people up. crime rates increase, and prison rates go up. the problem was that in that period, a political reflex got established where the public is alarmed about crime particularly at the local level and the politicians respond with hard-line policies on incarceration, and a dynamic it's entrenched.
it became -- gets entrenched. it became politically convenient and ordinary for politicians of both parties to express hard-line attitude towards crime . after 1980, we see a break in the pattern were crime rates start to fall, go up and down, not consistently rising any longer, but in part because of this reflex that has been established, incarceration rates go on rising, even though crime is not going up consistently. after 1990, crime rates begin to fall, yet the incarceration rate continues to climb. so, it is obvious, just from this, that the social advantage of locking up more people was clearly no longer served by this and the prison boom overshot. it is a good way to think of it. there was a reason at the outset, but it overshot any possible social rationale. another reason for this development is that in american politics, compared to european
countries, those involved in criminal justice, the prosecutors, and often the judges, are more exposed to popular opinion than is the case in any other countries. they are exposed to public fears and they respond with what seems like an immediate necessity mainly to lock people up, and didn't not in the same discretion to consider -- do not have the same discretion to consider other alternatives. there are two conclusions i draw from this history. one i would call the perils of populism. the upsurge in crime along with other disorders in the late 1960's produced a panic among the public and that was the initial impetus for the run-up in the prisons, but it produced this overshooting where the prison boom goes on beyond any possible social rationale. so, this is what happens, it seems to me, when readers advocate, when they allow public views to take charge and refuse
to apply perspective. collective leaders should hear and respond to public fears, not avoid them, but also give the public the best judgment of what a real solution requires. in the case of crime, a more measured response involving a wider range of options than just imprisonment would have been better for all concerned. our leaders should have explained the need for this to the voters. that is still what they need to do today. the political scientist c.o.p. once wrote -- co -- theo key once wrote those that shook the responsibilities are misfits that cannot understand the duties of the job. some have taken a lead in calling for a reassessment of incarceration. it is great pair doing this, but it is late in the game. it should have been done 10, 20 years ago, compared to what we see now. this leads to my second point and that is what we do have to return the prisons around? as the report says, downsized
incarceration is not enough. we have to have alternatives to prison that are less damning to communities from but that are still effective. there are developments in that direction that are encouraging. so, the report speaks to the need to build of social services and reentry programs for the offenders, many of whom will be living in the community rather than behind bars. we need fewer prisons, but we also need alternatives to prison. it is not enough to liberate people, set them free from incarceration. active ways to help them lead to great, become regular conditioning measures -- members. as in past experience, developing programs for these men will be difficult. it is not easy to do. we'll take a while. we are working on it now. the elements are favorable, but these programs are not yet ready for prime time. stay tuned. the task of prison reform has only begun. heather: thank you, larry. i just wanted to add -- one
thing i should've said at the outset and we will open it up to questions, which is to give you a tiny bit of background and the actual process by which these conclusions were arrived -- how we arrived at the conclusions. i mentioned the word literature, and i just wanted to clarify when we made these policy recommendations, this was the end product of two years of intense deliberations to arrive at those consensus conclusions. to do that, we had to come through and really take a very serious look at multiple literatures, multiple studies. so, we feel very confident that the conclusions we have come to our based on the absolute top and best literatures, and that this report has been vetted. the reason i say that is because we know many people, particularly here in washington, are seeking guidance as to how they might propose bills or do
something legislatively, so we hope that this is a tool, not necessarily weighing in on what those decisions would be that a certain legislator would propose, or a certain bill, but to say this is ammunition, information, and so, for example, i was also part of the chapter with larry, and when we say this was a decision we made, that it was not necessary, in that chapter you will find evidence for that. notably, for example, the murder rate was higher during the great depression than it was when we actually embarked on this massive war on crime. that gives us a pause, but some information we can use as we imagine new policy solutions. just by way of a little background. i would like to open it up for questions for any of us. chris: i chair the law enforcement assisted diversion
program for the city of portland, maine, and i'm also down here working for the sentencing project. my question for you guys is all of the focus right now is wonderful on criminal justice policy reform. i am wondering what role former offenders could have in this, and whether you believe there should be a leadership role for people that have experienced the system firsthand at panels like this. larry: i think that would be constructive to have some input. it is central to our agenda. [indiscernible] the place i would expect greater input is in the crafting of the reentry program. heather: if i could also just answer that -- speaking on my
own behalf as an academic and an advocate, i absolutely think that the former incarceration be central to discussion on reform, but i will say commend this is more speaking to the report, we created, the constellation of the committee that was chosen, the common denominator in the committee was the literature review that i was talking about. that is to bring together people that worked on this from a scholarly point of view. that was by no means at the excuse -- exclusion of the voices for this mattered most directly. for example, when i mentioned the literature, it was important that we look not just that data, we made a strong case that, for example, the ethnographic research, the experiences of people that had lived this policy were very central to the literature that we reviewed as well. glenn: i agree with what has been said. i think this subject -- we are not now speaking as members of
the national research council scientific report. we are speaking as human beings that i've stood in seen something happen in this policy area for the process of producing reports, social scientific expertise with the entry card, more or less, for people. the process of conducting a larger public discussion and deliberation around these matters, i think the voices of formally incarcerated people would be very important. that is not to say they have nothing to contribute from the former, but you might understand why it is a national academy of sciences panel will look to people that are publishing books and articles about a scientific question. i have the benefit of experiencing the bipartisan summit on criminal justice reform that was organized here in washington, d.c. maybe you were there. not long ago, couple of months ago, if my memory serves well. chris: i had not arrived yet. i was still home in maine.
glenn: the people incarcerated and offering testimony about what the experience was like and observations about what their lives were like after they were released were very important parts of the discussion, as i recall. i also served personally on the board of prison fellowship ministries for some years back during the 1990's and early-2000's and, again, at every level of the work of that non-governmental organization it was aimed at trying to better the lives of incarcerated persons and their families. the witness and presence of formally incarcerated persons was absolutely fundamental. chris: thank you very much. >> i am with the black church center for justice and equality.
thank you all for convening this. a very simple question -- what, in your opinion, would be the effect of decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing marijuana on these rates of incarceration, particularly for african-american men? i think the aclu says over half of the arrests are for simple possession, if i'm not mistaken, and that, of course, african-american men are three times more likely to be incarcerated for simple possession. so, this is a major platform issue for millennial's. i am interested in your all's perspective. larry: it is important to recommend that governments reassess this question -- how much the penalize you for drug possession. we recognize that was a major reason for the incarceration level. we do not think a firm view
about [indiscernible] that involves a number of considerations. [indiscernible] however, there are other considerations involved for that policy. we do not take a firm view, but we definitely looked at it quite closely. heather: and if i might just clarify again, it is important -- not as a dodging of your question, but actually to remind us of what this report can and cannot do. i think it can do a tremendous amount. we had a very, very specific charge -- i mean, very specific. we were reminded often to review what the charge was. so there were many questions that we discussed i wanted to consider and think about. everything from drug decriminalization to reentry. the charge of our report was very specific. so, what i think i can say, and
larry just said this -- the conclusions of the report, which invite us to think about new ways to do criminal justice invite us to think about ways to do this that does not involve imprisonment and a lengthy excessive sentences. by extrapolation, we hope that people will take that and think about those other questions such as the specifics of that. glenn: let me just say marijuana is one thing. heroin and cocaine are another. possession is wanting. i have a joint in my pocket -- i do not actually, let's say i did -- possession with intent to distribute another thing. i do not think we can look at the numbers and say simple possession of marijuana is quantitatively important. it might have to do with how you police a city like new york, but in terms of 1.7 million people in a state or federal prison, i
do not think possession of marijuana is that important. we can check it. we have huge experiments going on in the state of colorado, the state of washington. we will have a lot of data and more information about what the consequences of decriminalization or legalizing marijuana might be. personal opinion, i would want to end marijuana prohibition. personal opinion -- just like alcohol prohibition, i would argue, personal opinion, not the committee -- it is more cost and benefits. heroin and cocaine, different story altogether. different question altogether. >> i was interested in what the economist had to say about this. heather: i will just bring your attention back to chapter four, the historical section p do have some historical moments where we can look at what did -- section. we do have some historical moments when we look at what he did to some communities and so
forth, so we do have a bit of that. again, because this is so data and research driven, we would welcome the national academies in the future to do substantial study once the information is now available to us after colorado and all of these places. >> thank you. becky: i am becky slater. i was wondering in the literature review if there are any geographic variations? honestly federal law is consistent, but if in any states you saw there was any difference in the rate of incarceration across the country. glenn: did you understand the question question mark i'm sorry, i did not. are you saying did the --larry: are you saying did the incarceration rate for? the key, -- becky: yes. larry: the highest rates were in
the south. after that, i am not sure. glenn: we have a table that nobody has memorized that provides it across the country. heather: we have a lot of charts and data tables that could be useful -- what states have the highest number in prison, but also racial this portion nobody -- disproportionately looks worse in the north than in the south. so, we do have some interesting information. the report sought actually to come with some general findings, broader findings about high rates of incarceration, causes and consequences, so we did not particularly make state-level recommendations, nor spend a lot of time on state-level differentiation. is that fair to say? glenn: yes. sebastian: how do you roll back economic incentives to keep building prisons?
larry: we mentioned this briefly in chapter four people we recognize that as the prison system built up, a substantial industry built up around them. it is what can be called the prison industrial complex. we recognize that that is a factor that might appease -- it might be harder to persuade states to scale that back because this interest would be affected, and of course many legislative districts have an interest in the prisons because they are located in those districts and they can provide jobs. we didn't -- we were interested, but i do not think it is more important or as important as the political reflex, which is the public view of crime and the exaggerated idea that locking people up is going to be the solution. heather: and i would also look
for those of you in areas where this is a significant concern or issue, again, the report is very useful, we think, for the a normative principles that it offers at the end, which is to say that as we think about change, policy change, to the extent that businesses or profits, or anything might be in conflict with those principles, we hope that those principles are part of that discussion -- that is to say jobs, but yes what kind of jobs we want for a community. if the jobs were dependent upon keeping people in prison longer than it is wise for communities and for the nation, then we hope that his ammunition that can be used for those kinds of changes. glenn: i am the economist at the table here, and i need to comment on this, and what i am going to say might not be what you expect me to say, which is any public undertaking will
generate an outline set of economic interests around it -- whether it is the army and navy that has to be quick, or it is social -- equipped, or it is social services -- contractors that want to do the building -- the mere fact that there is money on the table, in and of itself, cannot be, i think -- seem to be a problem, because there is always going to be money on the table. prison guard unions -- i mean, they are not a profit-making concern, but they are an economic interest. if you start talking about significantly reducing incarceration, you're cutting into their overtime and they will protect economic interest in the way that organized interest are inclined to do. professor mead mention the small town in upstate new york where the building of the prison has created a boom, relatively good jobs for otherwise depressed area, bringing traffic into the region.
that, too, is a part of the set of interests that need to be confronted. i do not think this is going to be easy if we were to determine that we wanted to back out to deal with the resistance that will be encountered by people that have a vested interest. it is not just private prisons that are incarcerated people for money lavished interest. they are -- money that have this interest. the interests are across the board. heather: yes. thank you. kayla: capitol hill. you talked about reforms and social services and rehabilitation facilities, and my question would be where you draw the line in a crime as to one who should be incarcerated sources someone that should be sent to these types of -- incarcerated versus someone who should be sent to these types of systems?
larry: prison is more prison or likely parole, so we are concerned about supporting people reintegrating into the community after they leave prisons. that is a separate question from whether they should go to prison the first place. for people who committed serious crimes, or because they are younger or juveniles, we want to avoid sending them to prison, so we have a program designed to achieve the same goal without going to prison. for our purpose, the entry question is the most important. valerie: i am valerie wilson with the economic policy institute. in looking at the way the social policy recommendations are presented, it seems like those of things you would do on the talent, if people -- hell and people -- tail end, people
leaving prison. i was wondering if there could be anything done to reduce incarceration rates -- he spoke about the disparity among rates. did you address any neighborhood, segregation issues, issues related to education, employment, that could perhaps prevent incarceration? glenn: sure, and i think there is a fundamental thing that would have to be part of a broader national discussion about this area of policy. not the mandate of our committee to talk about housing or what happens if you improve the schools, what about employment -- we are not investing in our cities, etc.. that was way beyond our mandate. it would involve speculation on my part. but i will just go ahead and speculate for a moment. >> thank you. >> fix the schools.